Sometimes I wish I could be our cat. When I have a busy afternoon planned and am already tired, I would love to trade places with him and sit in the sun with no responsibilities but to sleep. But when I consider that he eats mice and accomplishes little in life and can’t communicate with others, not even other cats, I am glad that I am not a mouse.
Solitude and aloneness may at times look very appealing to a mother of young children, but those of you who are alone know that aloneness is not always all that great. God has created us for companionship and when through circumstances which are outside of our control we find ourselves living alone, it is not always that easy. If our aloneness is because we have always been alone, then the difficulty can come because of regret over the way things could have been and wondering why it never was any other way. If our aloneness is because of the death of our spouse, the pain is because of what was once experienced and is no longer available and because of the relationship that was and the loss that is experienced. Often times like Christmas are even more difficult. Aloneness has blessings and some are called to it and some come to it through the course of life, but it also has some pain.
If you are experiencing aloneness as pain, I want to share a thought with you that I hope will encourage and help you. In fact, I hope it will be an encouragement to all of us because whether alone or not, I think it is an important thought.
I. Your Maker Is Your Husband
I came upon this idea through conversation with a friend of ours. Her name is Helen and she was our neighbour. We prayed with her and her husband when they built their house across the street from us. We thanked them when they bought us a garage door opener for Christmas. We shovelled their snow and mowed their lawn when they were away for a period of time. They were good neighbours.
On a trip to Saskatchewan to visit grand-children, Helen’s husband had a heart attack, from which he recovered, but very soon afterwards, it was discovered that he had cancer. We visited them often over the following months and one day at 1:00 at night I got a call from the hospital that he had died. I went and encouraged the family and later met with them as we planned the funeral. After the funeral, we continued to visit Helen and listened as she shared her struggles. One day, she seemed somewhat more encouraged and when I asked her about the source of her encouragement, she told me that she had discovered a verse that had helped her find a measure of peace and help. It was from Isaiah 54:4, 5, “Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. For your Maker is your husband— the LORD Almighty is his name— the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.” She shared how the thought of God as her husband was a comfort to her. Although she missed her husband, and admitted that sometimes she didn’t experience God as being as near as she would have liked, she also told us that she wanted to live in such a relationship with God.
I don’t know how this idea strikes you, but I thought it was a pretty good way of dealing with aloneness.
The passage is a picture of God’s relationship to Israel. The imagery allows us to think about how God courted Israel in Egypt, married her at Mount Sinai. It is written in a context that describes how Israel was an unfaithful wife and how God had divorced her for her unfaithfulness by sending her into exile and how that implies a death of the relationship. This is the background for this picture which now speaks about the hope of restoration. As Israel came back to God, He would be her husband and restore her.
Of course, the passage is about God’s dealings with Israel, but the imagery raises a wonderful picture of our relationship with God. The OT pictures of Israel are about the relationship of God with his people. In our aloneness, I think it is encouraging to think about a relationship with God as our husband.
II. A Relationship With God
What is it that God does for the person who is alone, or perhaps any person, as their husband?
One of the blessings of relationship is communication. When we are alone, who do we talk to? As people who have a relationship with God, we can talk to him at any time and listen to Him. Sometimes we talk to God very formally, but the invitation of God, illustrated in all the Psalms is the privilege of talking to God openly and intimately. God also speaks to us and if we learn how to listen, we will grow in a relationship with God which restores some of the lost communication of being alone.
B. Love Expressed
Another of the blessings of relationship is the opportunity to give and receive love. A good marital relationship or a good relationship with a close friend is one in which we are often affirmed and appreciated. We tell each other “I love you.” But who tells you that you are loved when you are alone. Well, God does. If we listen to his Word and observe His actions in our life, we will see many ways in which God is always saying “I love you.” John 3:16, Romans 5:8, 8:31-39 are just a few of the passages in which he lets us know that we are loved. God affirms these truths to our hearts when we look to him.
C. Fear Shared
One night when we were camping, we heard a noise outside and when I looked out I saw a bear getting into our food box. All the while, Carla was holding onto my leg. I have teased her about it often, but it does feel good to know that she trusts me to take care of her and to be a shield for her in her fear. She would probably feel even better if I was over 6 feet and lifted weights. Being alone, there is no one to share fears with, we need to face them alone. Once again, the blessing of God as our husband is that we do not need to face fears alone. The Bible tells us repeatedly that God protects us and when we fear or are worried about anything, we can look to Him. In fact, I John 4:18 says, “perfect love casts out fear.” That is, God’s perfect love can cast out all our fear.
Another thing that this passage speaks of is simply God’s presence. You can be in a large crowd and feel very alone. Sometimes in life, we all feel alone, but all of us can rejoice in the encouragement that comes from knowing that we are never really alone. God is always with us. A number of years ago I was camp pastor at a camp. We were at the camp as a family. Carla helped in the kitchen and our children, then somewhere between 2 and 6 years old, just enjoyed the camp setting. At night, the youngest two were in the same room in the cabin with us and our oldest son, Joel, no more than 5 or 6, was in another room. One night it was very dark and all at once we heard Joel singing a song we had learned at camp. He sang, “God is always near me, in the darkest night, he can see me just as well as by the morning light.” What a wonderful truth for anyone of us. Conclusion
I don’t want to make small of the pain of aloneness. I also hope that this evening is a token of our commitment to support you. I hope that you are encouraged at other times by us and I hope that we do not just come to see you for this one thing in the year. I also know that you are supporting each other. But whatever the case, whether we are alone or not, I hope that this thought of God as your husband can encourage you to seek Him in your aloneness. He will not leave you nor forsake you.